Empty Link Skip to Content

Buying Your First Car? Let’s Work Out Your Budget


For more than two decades, An Post Insurance has helped get thousands of first-time drivers* behind the wheel. Over those years, we’ve provided not only affordable car insurance, but also genuine customer care.

We understand that buying a car can be a stressful process, with many different options available. That’s why it’s a good idea to do some research and sums at home before you leave the house.

Calculating a budget is the safest way to narrow your focus and make sure you don’t accidentally overspend. While the average car purchase cost is now €18,000, the reality is that only you will know what you’re comfortable paying over.

Wondering what to include in your budget for a new car? To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of ten of the most common costs:

(Infographic) Budgeting to Buy Your First Car | Car Insurance | An Post Insurance

Purchase price

Whether you choose to buy a used car or a new one, you should have a clear idea of how much you want to spend. While there’s usually room to negotiate, don’t bank on getting a heavy discount as that’s not always possible with prices up 85% since 2020.

Background check

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) reports that 1 in 5 (20%) consumers don’t carry out any checks before buying a used car, which is not a good idea. Set aside a couple of euro to run a licence plate check with a company like Cartell.ie or Motorcheck.ie.

Mechanical inspection

No car is perfect, but if you want extra peace of mind, have a mechanic take a look before you buy. Companies like BestDrive offer a detailed pre-purchase inspection that can help put your mind at ease about potential problems.

Fuel consumption

Are you looking at a petrol, diesel, electric or hybrid car? It’s difficult to be exact, but try to estimate your average weekly or monthly kilometres and calculate how much it will cost you at the pumps or charging station. Don’t forget to add in the price of home chargers or hubs too.

Motor tax

If you own a car, you’re legally required to pay road tax or obtain a formal exemption. Be aware that rates can vary dramatically depending on a car’s age and emissions. Finding out how much you’ll have to pay is easy: simply enter your registration number here.

Car insurance

Similarly, you must have comprehensive or third party, fire and theft car insurance if you’re driving in Ireland. Make sure to shop around and compare car insurance quotes carefully so you get the best price, cover and benefits to suit you and your driving habits.

Parking fees

If you have to pay to park your car at work, at home or when you’re out and about, it’s important to factor that in too. You want to make sure you leave enough in your budget to park safely without risking parking fines or clamping.

Toll charges

Do you travel through toll plazas regularly? All of those euros can really add up: work out how much your commute will cost you depending on the rate applicable and add it to your budget so you can get a complete picture of your outgoings.

Servicing and maintenance

Much like us humans, cars need TLC to keep them in tip-top condition. Most vehicles should be serviced once a year or every 12,000 miles (19,312 kilometres), whichever comes first. Prices can vary, so call your local mechanic or servicing centre first so you can add their fees into your budget.

Routine NCT

If you’re thinking of buying a car four years old or more, you will need to include an NCT in your calculations. The price of the NCT in Ireland is currently €55, but you should also bear in mind that the car might need mechanical work in order to pass the test.

The Irish Money Advice and Budgeting Service has a great online tool to help you do the sums when shopping for a new car. You should also think about factoring in a little extra as contingency — depending on the car you choose, there may be extra charges for items like replacing the tyres, repairing the bodywork or undertaking a complete valet. 

Wishing you could just blow the budget and drive away in a brand-new car? We could make that dream a reality. All customers who purchase a new car insurance policy with An Post Insurance between 01.03.24 and 31.07.24 can enter into a promotion with the opportunity to win a brand new Electric Fiat 500e Icon worth over €32,000. Full T&C available at anpostinsurance.ie/promotion.

(Fiat CTA) Win an Electric Fiat 500 | An Post Insurance

To learn more, visit our website, get an online quote or call our friendly team in Athlone at 0818 22 22 22. We’re on hand to talk you through your different car insurance policy options and our wide range of benefits and add-ons. We’re human about insurance, and that means helping to get you on the road — to college, to work and wherever life takes you next.

*Acceptance criteria, terms and conditions apply.     

All the information on this blog is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. While An Post Insurance makes every effort to ensure that the information appearing on this blog is accurate and complete, it does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability or accuracy of this information, whether express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or non-infringement.   Any action you take upon the information you find on this blog is strictly at your own risk.  An Post Insurance will not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses and/or damages in connection with the use of, or action taken in reliance on information contained in our blog.

Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of An Post Insurance. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites and if you click on links to these websites you will be subject to the terms and conditions of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.

Recent Blog posts